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On the subject of "Leprosy" (Leviticus 12-15)

Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:34 am
by Jacob Ben Avraham
PARASHIOT: “Tazriah” (she bears seed) and “Metsora” (infected ones).

Lev 12:1-13:59 ; Lev 14:1-15:33 ; 2 Kings 4:42-5:19; Luke 17:11-17

This week we have a double Torah portion; “Tazriah” which talks about when a woman gives childbirth, and “Metsora” which talks about “Tzara-at” which most Bibles interpret as “leprosy” but in actuality, the word “Tzara-at” covers ALL skin afflictions and diseases, including the dreaded disease called leprosy, medically known as “Hanson’s disease. Go to google “images” and see it, but be sure you don’t eat anything beforehand, it is quite horrible.

Leviticus Chapter 12 covers childbirth, and YHVH deems “unclean” a woman after giving birth, and she has to stay put in her tent, 7 days plus 33 days. Altogether, “40” days, “40” is the number for testings and trials. Why we might wonder, should a woman be rendered “Tamei” or “Unclean” because of giving birth? Only YHVH has the pure and true answer. It isn’t that she has sinned by giving birth, on the contrary, she has given life! Some rabbinical midrashim (commentaries) state that there is both “death” and “life” during childhood. “Life” is the new baby, yet “death” because the woman loses fluids (blood) which symbolizes life. Not that the woman actually dies, but the “lost blood” however much or little, still symbolizes life.

The child is in the womb for 9 months, this is a protected area, a world in itself. Then the child comes out into the world, a new world contrary to where it was. It has life both inside the womb and outside the womb, yet the child comes forth with the sin nature, and the sin nature brings death.

For a female child, the purification time is longer, 2 weeks plus 66 days, altogether, “80” days, the number “8” is the number of “new beginning” If we remember when Yeshua was born, Miryam and Yosef brought two turtle doves to be sacrificed after she went through her ritual cleansing, Yosef brought Yeshua to be circumcised on the 8th day.

We can look at it this way when we look at “Remez” being Messiah Yeshua. His blood was lost, causing death, just as a woman who loses blood through childbirth, symbolizes death. Yet Yeshua rose again, from the grave, thus bringing “life” and “hope” to all mankind. The woman brings forth a baby, which is “new life”. New life, but as I mentioned, new life with a sin nature, which brings death. Yet through the death of the Messiah, the curse of sin has been broken.

It has been broken so that “spiritually” we will have hope of eternal life, yet physically, we will still die. How fortunate that Adonai prevented Adam and Eve from eating of the tree of life had not this happened, we would all have to live forever in a state of sin, bodies wearing out, yet still living in them. How horrible that would have been.

On the 8th day, the mitzvah of “Brit Milah” (Circumcision) is performed in all males that are born. As we know, this was a sign of the covenant with Abraham. Some Jewish denominations still place a high priority on Brit Milah, yet how important is it really? Moshe stresses that which is most important, and that is the “circumcision of the heart” (Brit Milah b’lev). He does not, however, state that circumcision is no longer necessary nor important, only that the emphasis should be placed on the heart and not so much in the flesh. Removing the “fore-skin” of the heart is surrendering our fleshly nature to Adonai, that we are to walk more in the spirit and less in the flesh.

So, what is the importance today of circumcision? It does have health benefits; it keeps the male genital area cleaner and less prone to infections. Circumcision still joins us with the Abrahamic covenant, yet what joins us, even more, is our relationship with Messiah Yeshua. The brit which joins us with Yeshuah (Salvation) is our born-again experience with “Yeshua” (kind of play on words).

There is another aspect of the Torah portion “Tazria” that might be considered a bit abstract, but still, we might look at this from a “Remez and Sod” point of view (symbolic and gematric). Since there is always symbolism in G-d’s Word. As many know, and for those who don’t know, “Gematria” is assigning number values to Hebrew words and when we look at the sum of numbers, as each number is symbolic, we come to spiritual truths, especially when two sets of numbers are equal or near equal. Let’s look at verse 2 in Leviticus 12;

“If a woman has conceived seed, and born a man child; then she shall be unclean 7 days.”

In the Hebrew, it reads; “Isha Ki Tazria V’yaldah Zakhar V’tamah Shivat Yamim.” Within these 8 words, we find the letters that spell out “Yeshua!” Also, when we take the first letters of the first 5 words; “Isha Ki Tazria V’yalda Zakhar” (Aleph) (Kaf) (Tav) (Vav) (Zayin) summing the gematria value of each letter we get “434”. One of the titles of Yeshua is “Mashiach Ben David” the gematria value of “Mashiach Ben David” = 424. Almost the same, the difference is “10”. What is “10” in gematria? It is the letter “Yod” (hand). What did Yeshua, who is Messiah Ben David, do on Calvary? He stretched forth his hands to receive the nails, to pay in full our sin debt. The number “5” is the number of grace. The woman (Mary) conceived seed, through the Ruach HaKodesh, the seed was Yeshua, the man-child who was “G-d-Man-Child” and through His Grace, we are saved.

Symbolically, we might look at the woman as being “Israel” since Mary was Israelite, of the House of David, “Beit David” who bore “Messiah Ben David.” How was Israel unclean? Israel was unclean in that “Bat Zion” went after idols and followed the ways of Baal for a long time. Even during the time of Yeshua, there was corruption, both morally and spiritually. Many rejected Yeshua as Messiah, yet many accepted him too.

On the 8th day, Yeshua was circumcised as we read in the gospels. “8” is the number of a “New Beginning.” 7 days is the number that fulfills a complete week. Day 8 is Sunday, the first day of the week. If we count from Sunday to Sunday, we have 8 days. Our Messiah resurrected on the first day of the week, on day “8.” He was “unclean” during the time of hanging on the cross, carrying, bearing our sins. He bore our “Metsorat” our “infections” both physical and spiritual. As in the words of Isaiah the Prophet; “he bore our infirmities.” The perfect one “7” was “unclean!”

Now, all of Israel, all of the world, has a “New Beginning” through Messiah Yeshua Ben David. That New Beginning is our choice if we so desire. It is a choice. Life is all about choices. We can either accept of reject Mashiach, accept the blessing or accept the curse. Remember, it is about “choices”

Chapter 13 deals with two kinds of “Tzara-at” skin diseases (all kinds, both major and minor) and “mold & mildew on clothing. In ancient times, the person with a skin disease had to be isolated outside the camp until he or she got better and was “healed” there were probably some ointments available then, probably primitive, the priests were not doctors but acted as “judges” who would “judge” the person “healed” if the disease was temporary, today we have many kinds of skin ailments, Psoriasis, Eczema, simple rashes caused by allergies, scabies, ringworm, etc., were all based under the word “Tzara-at” when the person was well and the disease was no more, the person would offer a sacrifice and return to the camp. Here again, we see a form of “death” (cast out, rejected) and “rebirth” entering into the body of Israel once again after healing.

But let’s take a look at this a step further. When talking about symbolism, one could symbolize the “Metsora” (the one infected) as “Yeshua” in the following manner; At the beginning of Chapter 13, “and YHVH spoke unto Moshe and Aaron saying; when a MAN shall have in the skin of his flesh…”

Since every word in the Torah is put there for a purpose, the fact that the word “Adam” (man) is used is important. It could have been “Ish” or “Enosh” but it is “Adam”. This also has meaning. If we were to take the acronyms A.D.M (since that is how “Adam” is spelled in Hebrew) and apply a bit of meaning to the letters “Alef” “Dalet” and “Mem” we can see “Adam’ “David” and “Mashiach” two titles of “Mashiach” are “Mashiach HaAdam Sheni” (Messiah Yeshua, the Second Adam) and “Mashiach Ben David” (Messiah Yeshua, Son of David)

Our Messiah accepted and brought upon himself all of our “leprosy” of sinfulness, which affects not only our exterior but also our inner being. He was nailed to the cross “outside” of the city, just as one afflicted with leprosy was cast outside of the city. Then he was made whole once again, arising on the third day. Isaiah 53 says that he bore our grief, carried our sorrows, and was stricken and smitten of God, just as a leper is in the same condition, in a state of sorrow and smitten with a deadly disease that consumes the flesh. We remember that the Roman whips “ate up” the flesh of our Messiah, all for our sakes.

In another way, the “Metsora” is US! We have been afflicted with “spiritual leprosy” being our “sinful nature” at birth. When the pure soul from Heaven is introduced into the human body, it becomes part of it and partakes of the sin nature. Both the body and the soul suffer, the body ages, contracts diseases, etc. and without the “born-again” experience, we are “cast outside” of the city, we are forbidden entrance into the Kingdom of God. When we become members of the family of God through Yeshua, He acts as the “priest” who “heals” us. In ancient times, the priest had to visit the leper to see if leprosy had left the body, “leprosy” being “any kind of skin disease. The priest had no power to heal, only to observe and pronounce “tahor” (clean) or declare “Tamei” (unclean).

However, Yeshua HAS the power to heal, as Isaiah says, “By His stripes, we are healed” of the “Tza-arat Nefesh” (the leprosy of the soul). So, we are the “Metsorat” that are HEALED and integrated into the body of Messiah, and HIS Kingdom someday soon. This is an eternal promise!

Clothing also had to be checked as well. God knew about the dangers of mold and mildew long before man found out. People had to carefully check the fabric of their clothing, the sewing together of the yard was called “woofs” and “warps” and if there was a red or green discoloration, it was “mold and mildew” (also called “tsara-at”)

A person’s house could also be affected with “tsara-at” with mold and mildew, if it was, the walls had to be scraped and the affected stones removed and replaced.

How does this affect us spiritually? There is a “spiritual leprosy” that is rebellion against YHVH, living in contrary to His Word, doing what is “right in our own eyes” disregarding the commandments as if they were “only for the past” claiming that “Now we are under grace” and not guided by the Torah. Grace and Torah always co-existed, and they still do! Abraham was saved by grace, and this was before the written Torah. Even though many commandments cannot be followed today, there are still many that CAN BE followed, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater!

If we were to analyze our spiritual lives and maturity honestly, how many of us would have to cry out “Tamei” (unclean) and go run and hide? Yet there is forgiveness and a new beginning in our Messiah Yeshua, who paid our sin price and penalty on Calvary’s cross once and forever. We can “come in the camp again” when we confess of sins before a Holy God, and accept His forgiveness, and accept his inner “healing”.

Some rabbinical commentaries claim that “Tzara-at” came upon people’s skin, clothing, and houses because of ‘Leshon Hara” (evil tongue) because of spreading lies, slander, gossip, backbiting, backstabbing, etc. Take into account “Miriam” who was struck with “Tzara-at” when she spoke against Moshe! Yet Moshe interceded on her behalf, and she was healed. The same way Yeshua heals us when he goes on our behalf before the Father. Are we saying that skin diseases come from speaking evil and slander of others? We have no medical proof that this is correct, however, we serve a G-d of creation and he created our bodies and has the right to inflict illnesses upon the guilty parties whenever He wishes. Personally, I think that if he DID do EXACTLY THAT, then, we would ALL be covered with rashes and sores from time to time.

We should be careful when speaking and only speak positive things about others, if another is in error, go to that person personally and confront the person in love, not talk about what he or she is doing wrong with others. No wonder we have only ONE mouth, yet two EARS. Listen carefully yet speak little.

It is also interesting to note that the Levite priest did not act as a healer, only as an observer. He would declare if the "Tza-arat" was gone or if it was still a plague on the person. The word for "plague" in Hebrew is "nega" spelled with the Hebrew letters "nun, gimel, ayin" (n, g, a) but when the person was healed of the tza-arat, it was an occasion of "oneg" or (joy, gladness, happiness,) which is "nega" in reverse, same letters, but in a different order; "ayin, nun, gimel" When we have the "nega" of the soul, and we are healed by our "born-again" experience, it is a time for "oneg"

When the person was declared healed, the priest would take cedar wood, hyssop, scarlet, water, and two birds, kill one bird and dip the other bird in the water with the dead bird's blood, together with the wood, hyssop, scarlet. All these symbolize Yeshua; The Cross of wood, the wooden doorframes, and the hyssop when the first Passover was performed, the blood of Yeshua, Yeshua the Living Water, the birds were like the two goats during Yom Kippur, one was killed, the other was set free. Our sins were atoned for and cast far, far away.

2 KINGS 4:42-5:19

We read about “Naaman” the Syrian who was healed of his Tzara-at, whatever kind he had, He was healed, not because of anything he could pay Elisha, but what he did in OBEDIENCE and FAITH. He went and bathed in the River Jordan, when down 7 times, again, “7” is YHVH’s perfect number, it kind of symbolizes baptism in a way. When we came up the seventh time, he was healed of his disease.

We also see that Gehazi, Elisha’s servant was stricken with “Tzara-at” because of his selfish motives and because he lied to his master.

We can become clean inside when we obey God’s Word, and accept Yeshua as Savior and LORD, Yeshua is the “Living Water” and when we “bathe in Him” we become clean, our “Tamei” becomes “tahor”

LUKE 17:11-17

Not the official Parashah reading, but this deals also with the healing of 10 who suffered from some sort of skin ailment, which made them “Tamei” and “outcasts”. Yeshua healed them all, only for the asking, YET only ONE returned to say “thanks”. Do we take our Salvation for granted? Do we think we deserve it? Remember that only through the grace of YHVH does he allow us into HIS family. Do we really live like “B’nei Malach?” (children of the King) or….do we succumb to the deceiver and lair of all times? Do we praise and thank Him for so great a gift such as YESHUAH (Salvation)? do we thank and praise YESHUA for YESHUAH? Something to think about.

Shalom...Ben Avraham